The lack of coverage in the local media (ND or otherwise) has been a confounding issue with me since the return to the CCHA in 1992. There was a little uptick when Jackson arrived and jump-started the team in 2006 but that never really amounted to much more than articles on games, a pre-season look and the (very) occasional feature story.
Starting in the 2014-2015 season our attendance really began to flounder, with lots of games in the 3000 range (none in the first 3 years of the CFIA and most in the high 4000s or sellouts) and lots of dubious attendance numbers to go along with that. Are the Observer and the Tribune providing the coverage that the public wants to consume, or is the public losing interest because no one covers it?
Even at best, the lack of true in-depth coverage was always an issue. A player would need to miss multiple weekends before we got news of the absence. A near-complete dearth of strategy talk or explanations of gameplay. And zero coverage of the sport outside of actual Notre Dame games or players (imagine if you would Tom Noie or other SBT writers completely ignoring what's happening around the ACC or other big NCAA topics).
Living 4 hours away I wish it were different, but like a lot of things about Notre Dame, I have grown to accept it. I hope Notre Dame realizes they have to accept my growing apathy for their athletic programs.
regarding the SBT (and I'm not justifying the lack of coverage there, either). There's no excuse for the Observer - this is a major sport, even in the "rust belt". And it's not like the program finishes out of the post season every year. Nor is it like the program puts nobody in the NHL. We had two guys bring the f'g Cup back to campus this past fall. We had an NHL GM do it a few years ago. We have a top NHL franchise holding camp here every September. I think the student paper has its head up its ass. Sorry to be so blunt but I find it inexcusable and inexplicable.
As I have posted several times my son has been, and still is, on The Observer staff. As of the start of Spring Break, he's now simply a senior sportswriter as he gets ready to graduate in two months.
Notre Dame was on Spring Break last week. The Observer hasn't published since Thursday March 9. They will publish again tomorrow (March 21). There have been about a dozen stories published on website since Spring Break began - mostly about basketball, one about a student death and a few others. For the most part, the paper shuts down during breaks.
In addition to the fact that there was Spring Break and most of the staff is off campus, there also isn't an unlimited travel budget. Observer sports travel is pretty much football road games and NCAA tournaments in basketball and hockey if it can be done cheaply enough.
My son drove back to campus from Indy and went to Buffalo to cover men's basketball along with a student who lives in Mishawaka and a photographer who did not go home for break. Because Buffalo was a drive they were willing to make, they went. The expenses are a few nights in a hotel with all 3 guys in one room, a couple of meals and few tanks of gas. They mostly ate media room food. Women's basketball was covered easily as it was at home with a few writers who came back early. Hockey East tournament wasn't getting an on-site writer, just like the ACC Men's and Women's Basketball did not get an on-site writer.
I will tell you hockey would have been covered on site this upcoming weekend if ND ended up in Cincinnati. The writer who drove there last year on Spring Break was prepared to go again. They simply don't have the funds to send anyone to Manchester. Get to Chicago, and they likely will send someone to cover it (assuming the NCAA basketball rule that says you have to cover the first round to get a following round doesn't apply to hockey).
Could the hockey beat writers have thrown together a quick article about the Lowell game and the tournament pairings? Probably. But you weren't going to get anything that wasn't in a Notre Dame release.
But to have expectation for full coverage when school isn't in session is not a realistic expectation.
maybe this well-endowed university could find a way to help out. Sorry for the rant but I'm so used to inexcusably poor coverage by the SBT that I unfairly broadened the critique.